The Uproar

An Opinion on Opinions

Has call-out culture gone too far?

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An Opinion on Opinions

When we write for the web,  we must come to terms with the permanence of our words.

When we write for the web, we must come to terms with the permanence of our words.

photo by Katie Golden

When we write for the web, we must come to terms with the permanence of our words.

photo by Katie Golden

photo by Katie Golden

When we write for the web, we must come to terms with the permanence of our words.

Alex Flagg, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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I’m the co-Editor-in-Chief of The Uproar, and I’m terrified of publishing articles.

We’ve seen it time and again — someone messes up royally, and it’s embarrassingly public for all to see.  Remember when the official Ted Cruz twitter favorited pornography? Or when a BBC reporter tweeted that the Queen was dead?  Or even when our site published the word “raping” instead of “rapping?”

It’s a part of the human experience to misspeak and slip up.  The only difference in the Internet Age is that the entire world gets to see — and you can’t take it back.  

Starting in elementary school, we begin to curate who we are online, and this permanence is terrifying. ”

Starting in elementary school, we begin to curate who we are online, and this permanence is terrifying.  The toxic call-out culture which has spread Twitter like a storm digs up unfortunate mistakes — insensitive comments or embarrassing photos — and destroys lives.  For truly heinous acts like assault, racism, etc., consequences are crucial, but too often, people are “cancelled” for an uneducated past. Instead of consuming old media critically, we turn it off completely; how, then, can we learn from the growing process a celebrity may have taken?  With screenshots and a trash never truly emptied, our online personas are stagnant and unchanging, even though we undoubtedly do change. The Internet takes away our ability to change.

Remember when Hillary Clinton believed that marriage “is a sacred bond between a man and a woman?”  Or when Donald Trump considered himself “pro-choice?”  You can be sure both parties wipe the floor with those “problematic” pasts.

That’s why I’m scared of opinions pieces — not those written by others, of course, but my own.  What if I write a piece on some controversial subject when I’m in high school, but with time and knowledge, I change my mind?  Will Twitter understand?  Likely not — there’s no way the hordes will take time out of their day to hear why I’ve changed. It’s so easy to have my words turned against me one day, so to protect myself, I silence my voice.

What I forget, though, is that in a post-9/11, Google-heyday world, privacy doesn’t exist anymore.  It’s a slightly nihilistic take on the new era, but the truth is that no matter how hard I try, I can’t escape data collection.  Even if I were to stomp on my phone and snap my laptop in half, NA’s Focus 2020 would suck me back into the whirlpool. And it goes further than just the search bar — Google literally knows where we are as long as we’ve got our phones in our pockets.

The question to ask myself, then, is why bother trying?  I might as well say, “Whatever!” and publish my phone number, address, and social security number for good measure.  I’m on Instagram, and because I got tired of sifting through follow requests, it’s public. The very act of making it so means that I’ve already given up shielding myself from the prying eyes of the Internet world — so why are opinions different?  

The deeper issue for me is not some valiant urge for privacy in an increasingly overt society; instead, it’s a misattributed fear of my own opinions brought on by the mistakes of others.  I don’t want to embarrass my future self; because of that, I cut off a capable voice that deserves to be heard.

I’ve often complained about film reviews and culture pieces on this site, arguing that no one cares how some random sixteen year old feels about the latest Marvel movie.  To some extent, it’s true — the NASH Uproar doesn’t quite compare to other entertainment-focused sites, like Rotten Tomatoes or Buzzfeed. I’ve also pointed out that an NA student’s opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is useless — professionals can’t help, so how can we?  But the youth are a powerful force. We are — pardon the cliche — the future.

Adolescence is a complicated, formative time, and we absolutely do not have all the answers to the world’s questions.  But how can my beliefs mature if I never express them? Some in this world are blessed to have their convictions cultivated early and are wholly unwavering.  Maybe I am that person, but maybe I am not. All I know is that I cannot end wise if I never start foolish, and principles are to be admired, not feared.

I’m pro-choice and a feminist who advocates for intersectionality, but I’m also a capitalist with a modest fear of the government.  Maybe one day I’ll call myself Republican or a Communist — who knows? The future doesn’t matter, though, because what I believe now is valid and continues to paint the ever-growing portrait of my teenage years.

So, my wish is twofold: have courage, and have grace.  Be brave enough to use your voice, even if you can see a changed version of yourself on the horizon — meaningful conversation that allows development in your beliefs, whether advancing them or modifying them, cannot come from silence.  And secondly, forgive others for their past positions — we all start somewhere, and the choice to make a stand, immature or not, is impressive.

As spring rolls around, I must say I’m relieved that this qualifies as my final opinions piece for the year.  But, I know that messing up is a part of life, and even if I’ve published those mistakes, I have the grace to forgive myself.  So, be bold, and be understanding. Hear’s too leearning, livving, and growinbg!

About the Writer
Alex Flagg, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Alex Flagg is a senior this year.  She loves reading, writing, and coffee, and she hates math, parking, and getting up early.  Outside of class, Alex...

3 Comments

3 Responses to “An Opinion on Opinions”

  1. Connor Foran on April 10th, 2019 1:03 pm

    everybody needs to see this! thank you for putting this into words

  2. Ahlam on April 11th, 2019 6:56 am

    Excellent.

  3. Mr. Mooney on April 11th, 2019 10:35 am

    Um… typos in the final sentence. I’m just sayin’.

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An Opinion on Opinions